Step 1: Don’t.
I just want to do everything. I want to have my cake and eat it too. I can’t help it. I’m an over-active, over-planner that likes to over-achieve and do-all-the-things. This is the way it’s always been. So I’m fighting nature when I try to implement Step 1.
Even though I constantly read articles and books about productivity, doing less, working effectively, I forget to implement at times. Well most of the times.
I started falling down a doing-all-the-things-panic-hole recently. I want to be successful on my team; I want to be prepared. I started thinking about everything I feel like I need to do and it includes:
- Monitoring my food intake
- Making sure my macros have enough protein
- Figuring out a plan to eat healthily on the road
- Working on my grip strength
- Doing arm workouts to build muscle
- Doing cardio to improve stamina
- Visualizing (a lot)
- Watching our videos from the tunnel we’ve recently done
- Watching videos of other teams
- Meditating to help me beat back some of the stress and anxiety I’m juggling about how work will handle all my OOO and my remote time (and other work chaos)
- Organizing events to spread the XPG4 name
- Understanding how being on a sponsored team works, including all the social media that goes along with it
It’s a lot. But it’s all important in its own way and it all seems necessary. How do I figure out what ball gets dropped first?
But my favorite person pulled me out of my downward spiral and said, “Maybe just pick one or two things to start with” which might seem obvious but wasn’t. But then it got me thinking about mini-habits and touchstone habits.
I read a book about mini-habits where the idea was that one should choose a habit that was too small to fail, do that every day, and then grow the habit into something bigger. The author described his own mini-habit. He wanted to start working out more, so he chose to do one push-up every day. That’s it. Just one. If he forgot all day until right before he went to sleep, he could simply roll over in bed, do a push-up and fall asleep. It was too small to fail. However, it was also so small that he could easily improve on it. His goal was one push-up, but if he did ten, he felt accomplished. Sometimes 10 push-ups would turn into some sit-ups, and maybe even a run. But if all he can find time for is one push-up, it’s still a success. Mini-habits build up momentum towards bigger habits.
And Keystone Habits
Additionally, a lot of research has gone into the concept of keystone habits. In short, these are habits that, if you start doing them, will make it easier to build other good habits. For example, these can be exercise, eating healthy, or getting sleep. All of these habits give you the energy to make more healthy choices. Will power has been shown to act like a muscle, it can be both strengthened and depleted. Keystone habits can help build that will power muscle.
So, instead of doing it all, I’ve decided to pick a few mini-habits and keystone habits.
First, I’m going to do one push-up every day. It would be nice to do 30 real push-ups (maybe not in one go though). But just one is enough to start.
Second, I will visualize one skydive every day. Visualizing one often devolves into visualizing that skydive in my B slot, or watching video where we did that block I visualized. Sometimes I watch video where another team flew the block I visualized. Or maybe I just visualize multiple jumps from different angles. Either way, it’s very easy to build on this habit without trying.
Third, I will track my eating without judgement or attempts to change it.
Fourth, if I find myself in the car, maybe I’ll listen to a meditation. Maybe I’ll leave my grip strengthener in there to squeeze it a few times. I plan to set myself up with the opportunity to work on my habits if the mood strikes, but if it doesn’t? Eh, I’ve got my other habits. However, from what I’ve seen, if I find the motivation to visualize skydives or do my one push-up, it increases the likelihood that I’ll also do my grip exercises or meditation (with my eyes open!) while driving.
Anyway, the road is long. I’ve made a long term commitment to this team. I aim to find myself a sustainable pace at which to traverse these next few years. I want to be able to set a pace for myself that pushes me but doesn’t wear me out in the first mile. This project is more of a marathon than a sprint and I intend to prepare that way for it.